IJERPH, Vol. 18, Pages 12376: Psychological Inflexibility in People with Chronic Psychosis: The Mediating Role of Self-Stigma and Social Functioning (International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health)
Psychosis is associated with self-stigmatization and loss of social functioning that increase the severity of the disorder. Psychological inflexibility (PI)—an individual’s tendency to suppress undesirable private events—plays a fundamental role in the emergence and worst prognosis of psychosis. The main objective of this study was to analyze whether self-stigma and social functioning mediate the association of PI with the severity of psychosis in adults with chronic schizophrenia. The study was carried out with a sample of 103 outpatients. The Acceptance and Action Questionnaire, the Internalized Stigma of Mental Illness Scale, and the Social Functioning Scale were used for clinical assessments. Data analyses were performed by using the PROCESS macro for SPSS. Results showed that the link between PI and the severity of psychosis is not direct, but is better explained by mediation of the self-stigma and social functioning of those assessed. PI also predicts worse social functioning without the need to take self-stigma into account. Moreover, self-stigma alone does not predict the severity of psychotic symptoms; this relationship has to be mediated by social functioning. These findings suggest that interventions designed to increase psychological flexibility, such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), may offer an alternative to attenuate the negative impact of self-stigma and to improve the social functioning.